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Will Europe-wide brands dominate the retail scene?

Updated Monday 6th December 2010

 Justin King believes the variation in national tastes - never mind across boundaries - makes a pan-European supermarket giant unlikely.

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I don’t see as much internationalisation in food retailing as some others do for the simple reason that consumers within the country let alone when one starts crossing borders buy and eat very, very different things, and one of the things that makes us as a business very special is how close we are to consumers and that 50% of what we sell is a product that we create especially for them. Now, if you think about the challenges of that between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow, that’s challenging enough because we as consumers eat very different things as you move around the country. We’re still very attached to the history of how food developed in the various parts of the country. That becomes incredibly complex once you start crossing borders so if you look at those businesses that have started across borders, food retailing businesses, they’ve tended do that led by brands and they’ve tended to do that led by the hypermarket model so where much of what they’re selling is not food at all. And food, particularly fresh food which is the core strength of the Sainsbury business, is by far the hardest thing to cross borders with. So that’s why I think less internationalisation will happen than some commentators do.

Justin King on the Sainsbury's brand

 

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